December 01, 2003
Virage Logic's Adam Kablanian
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Conversing with Adam Kablanian, President and CEO at Virage Logic Corp. is easy. He's straightforward and relaxed, at least to the casual observer: “I was born in Syria and went to an Armenian high school there. The reason I'm here in the U.S., however, is because early on I developed a passion for physics. I wanted to know how physics worked, how astrophysics worked. And even though I could have gone to Aleppo to earn my doctorate and make a living, my dream was always to come to U.C. Berkeley to study and to become a physics professor.”
He completed his masters in 1991, but admits that the years leading up to his graduation were difficult. “The main focus for me during those years was my career and my family. It was very, very tough to get up early in the morning to attend classes at Santa Clara, to pursue my career, to have a family, and to keep up with my studies. It was a relief when I was finally done.”
Kablanian spent five years at Xicor, followed by a brief sojourn at LSI Logic, and then spent five years at Waferscale Integration (WSI) where he spent his time “doing lots of Flash and EPROM memory design.” After WSI, he went back to LSI in a consulting capacity, and it was at this point that Kablanian decided to found Virage Logic.
situation in 1996 was a factor [in our decision to move forward with the company], but it was really the need that I had observed in the market for more embedded memories in SoCs [that prompted us to found Virage].”
“The first two years we were in business, we were mainly a consulting operation, providing services to companies, not products. As we worked with our customers, we developed the necessary software tools for our memories and we began to productize our IP - often with the help of those customers. For those first two years, our earnings were not substantial, although we were always able to meet the payroll for the 8 people in the company.”
Kbablanian says that Virage got the break they were looking for in 1998: “That was when PCM Sierra became our first IP customer, purchasing our .25-micron product. And they helped us to productize that IP, although the product was not yet robust. We were lucky to have PMC Sierra there to give us our first start in the memory compiler business.”
“In the IP business, nothing really happens in a rational way. We didn't have a business plan, we only had a vision which was to build the best products. Our concept was to become the embedded memory company. At the time, there were many, many library companies. The [wisdom at the time said that], in order to be successful, you had to be providing embedded memory and I/O, but we said we had to only provide embedded memory as our focus.”
we are today, still working successfully. I firmly believe that for any company that provides value with a differentiated product, you can succeed even if the competition is giving away product for free, or giving the perception that the product is free.”
“In early 1999, we received our first corporate funding - Round B raised close to $3.5 million. All of the companies involved wanted to collaborate with us on the technology side for both strategic and financial reasons. In late 1999, we received $10 million from Crosslink Capital. Mike Stark was on our board and was instrumental in attracting additional board members as we went through that very critical period. I'm very happy to say that they are all still on the board today. Six months later, we went public.”
management spends to make sure that things are in compliance. All of this takes away from time for pursuing additional revenues.”
“We went public in 2000 because we had real customers, real products, and we were making money, but we went public just after the burst of the Internet bubble. At the time, our investors told us that they were not pursuing 70 percent of their prospects, but that we shouldn't worry because we were definitely going public. After we went public in August 2000, we had parties in 5 different locations. By that time we had facilities in Fremont, California, in Bellevue, Washington, in New Jersey, in India on the outskirts of Delhi, and in Armenia. I visited each location over the course of the next year and celebrated with the local workforce and their families.”
Now, today, we need to emphasize more science and
engineering in the universities, although it's hard to motivate students [to pursue these disciplines] when, with the downturn, there are few jobs for engineers.”
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-- Peggy Aycinena, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.
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